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Christian Dior CEO Sidney Toledano opened up about John Galliano’s anti-Semitic statements at the company’s fashion presentation Friday in France.
“What has happened over the last week has been a terrible and wrenching ordeal us all,” he said to an audience of about 1,000 who gathered to watch the company’s 2011-12 ready-to-wear show. “It has been deeply painful to see the Dior name associated with the disgraceful statements attributed to its designer, however brilliant he may be.”
“Such statements are intolerable because of our collective duty to never forget the Holocaust and its victims, and because of the respect for human dignity that is owed to each person and to all peoples,” added Toledano of Galliano, who was caught on tape saying, “I love Hitler.”
“These statements have deeply shocked and saddened us all at Dior who give body and soul to their work, and it is particularly painful that they came from someone so admired for his remarkable creative talent,” he went on.
At the end of the show, about three dozen Dior atelier workers — known as “small hands” – took to the catwalk instead of Galliano (who was fired earlier this week) and received a minute-long standing ovation, according to ABC News.
ABC also reports that boldfaced names largely avoided the show, which was attended by French actresses like Melanie Laurent and Vanessa Paradis’ sister, Alyssob Paradis. Security was tightened.
“You could definitely feel Galliano in those designs. Fashion is built on what comes before it and John is really still here,” Linda Fargo, Bergdorf Goodman senior vice president, told ABC News. But she called it a “sad day. Everyone is kind of wistful.”
Galliano also faces trial in France.
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